Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricane Irene, Part 1

We had another post well on the way when this tropical wave thing suddenly seems to have turned into Hurricane Irene. Since this is definitely a very real part of life in the tropics, I thought we'd interrupt our regularly scheduled program about the nice parts of tropical life for a snapshot of the down side.

We were surprised at how quickly this storm developed and we watch these things religiously. Yesterday afternoon I was fooling around in the garage working on my next little DIY project. I was finishing up a set of curtain rod holders made out of wood from Gilley's old bar in Leeward. Suddenly a gust of wind blew through the garage that astonished me. I checked with La Gringa, and the weather station had just recorded a gust of 55 kts. It's was mostly from the north by northeast so the water wasn't getting too stirred up close to the lee shore.



By lunch time today we definitely were feeling the effects of the wind, with bands of intense rain blowing through from time to time. I got caught between the house and the garage during one of these and the rain pellets actually stung my numb skull. That takes some velocity.



Starting late yesterday and through all of this morning we were buttoning up the house. Battening down the hatches. Trying not to step on the dog. Worrying about things we may have forgotten. Is anybody ever really ready for that first hurricane of the season? We know we get complacent and rusty after months of being lulled by friendly trade winds. I took a quick snap of some of the bougainvillea blossoms while we were re-learning the deployment sequence of hurricane shutters. Soon to be gone bougainvillea blossoms, I should have said.



When we batten down, we close these folding aluminum storm shutters over all the sliding glass doors on the house. They start getting noisy above around 60 mph , but do a pretty good job blocking the worst of the wind and rain.



We managed to fit the skiff, the Hobie Tandem Island, and the smaller Defender inside the garage. It's crowded but there's essentially nothing outside except the gas grill, which is pinned between the front bumper of the other Land Rover and a wall. The living room is full of lawn chairs and outdoor chaise lounges.



The other Defender is pulled up into the lee of the house where we can get to the doors from the house without having to expose ourselves to too much weather.



I grabbed a hunk of wood that I'd trimmed off La Gringa's new tortilla squisher and made a quickie GoPro camera mount. I'd changed the tortilladora from rectangular to octagonal, and this meant I had some nice blocks of wood scrap with both 90 and 45 degree angles. Not what I would have designed as a camera mount, but all I had to do was drill one hole for the bolt for the camera and counter sink it. Having both 90 and 45 degree angles is useful for clamping to various structures.



We started by clamping it on the patio wall with a view of the oncoming weather. This would have a good view of the boats in the marina, too. I wonder how good the quality will be in driving rain against the lens, though.




The fallback position is more protected, being on the lee side of the house. This is a lot easier for us to get to if the wind gets really obnoxious.



This is the view as of early afternoon from that corner in the photo above. I am thinking that a time lapse from here would show the palm trees clocking around with the wind as the storm goes by. Maybe a battery's worth of time lapse from each location.



So this isn't our typical sunny, blue water, tropical sunshine post. We've got plenty of those. This blog is supposed to be about our experience living in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hurricanes are a part of the price for the tropical life experience.

If this storm misses us, I won't have much of a Part 2 this time. And that would be totally acceptable to us. We've already had the smashed island experience. I wanted to get an explanatory post up in case we lose power. It's happened for less reason than this.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys.......thanks so much for what your doing..not only the images of such a strong natural occurance, but for some of us who have friends &/or property there... a link to what's happening...the best link I've found today....your 'comments' are invaluable..our thoughts & prayers are w. you.
Thanks Again & Be Careful
NC

Joe C said...

Best of luck to you guys. Stay safe and we'll be looking forward to your next post that says you guys are A-Okay.

rumblewagen said...

Keep your heads down. Let's hope there's no need for a part 2.

Anonymous said...

How does that glass block do in strong winds? We are in SC and expected to get a follow-on of the storm...

Also, what did you do with the Contender?

Gringo said...

When I retrieved the Go-Pro from that spot on the patio the housing lens was fogged up. So I don't know yet how much time lapse we got. I charged it back up and put the ventilated back on it. I wouldn't put that out facing the storm, so it's now in the protected spot. We'll see what we get.

The Contender is at the marina, sitting on it's trailer. no boats in the water this time around, you betcha.

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping that part two of this post tells us that Irene lived up to her mythological character and left you in peace.


gw

Bearcruzer said...

We experienced her in her infancy here on St. John. She's growing up fast and I hope you both stay safe. We'll be watching for updates from T&C via stormcarib & your blog. Love to you both. Mike & Crystal s/v Dancing Dolphin.

d_pattee said...

It appears to be going just east of you now. Next update in an hour, but I assume you're getting some hurricane force winds. Hope Y'All are OK. DaveDownEast

Gringo said...

Hello Dancing Dolphin! We thought you guys must be back in Colorado by now.
Glad to hear you're still sailing.

Joe C said...

BTW, Mr Gringo, the pic where you are mounting the GoPro camera looks like yer finger tip from your ring finger is missing. My girl thought it was sweet that you still have your wedding ring on.

After close examination of the image, I conclude that your finger tip is still intact.

You guys are awesome....Please stay safe.

Caitlyn said...

Great to see this post. I've been thinking of you today. Hunker down and stay safe overnight and please don't be too tardy with the Part 2! I will definitely be checking in frequently for word that you've made it through ok...

There's a chance my husband will be down by the end of the week to help with some aftermath rebuild, so let us know, once the storm clears off, if you need anything brought down and we'll do our best...

-C-

Jamie (BoneSmart) said...

Hi, Gringo...when I heard about the hurricane coming your way, I had to check in to your blog and see how you both were doing. I hope you stay safe.

Gringo said...

Thanks for all the good wishes. It's 2 in the morning, and the wind is howling and whistling around the house so loudly that it almost hurts the ears. Looking across Juba Salina at the island of Providenciales I cannot see a single light showing through the rain. The visibility is down to a few hundred yards. I know there are lights on at the boatyard, but I cannot see them. We have water blowing into the house in a couple of spots. We tell ourselves "it's only water. We like water" and I try NOT to tell myself "it's only sheetrock. We like sheetrock."

this is not a night for sleeping.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gringo, just want you to know we're praying for you during all of this!

Anonymous said...

It looks like she's on the other side of West Caicos from you now. I pray the coming daybreak finds you safe and sound, if not as dry as you'd like. (Bet I can guess what a couple of your next DIY projects are gonna be!)


gw

Ashworth said...

Be safe! We'll be thinking of you guys. Up on top of that hill on the south side of the island has to be a real experience during a hurricane. I hope you are able to get some good pics of the hurricane. The Weather Channel would be very interested in pics of the storm. God bless and hang in there.
Jim
Lil Provo
New jersey

PaleMoonDove said...

Just finished watching the location of Irene on the news and immediately thought of you two...may you both...and Dooley...keep safe.
Doll (&Capt'n too)

Gringo said...

It's dawn. What a mess. Wind still howling. No power, so I had to make the trek to the garage to get genny fired up. Now have coffee. And lots of water damage. It's still blowing 60 mph right now, and I have learned that trying to walk in a 60+ mph wind with a piece of plywood in your hands is either a beating or a brief flying experience. But in either case, it's dangerous. Don't do it. I plan to run the generator for an hour at a time to conserve gasoline until we know how bad this is. And finding out how bad could take a while with the island essentially powerless and shut down.

We'll only have power when we run the generator, and will put together another quick and dirty blog post.

Can't see much of the road out yet, but it appears to be flooded and we might be stranded until the storm surge recedes. Amazing we have internet. And that may not last. They must have found a good connector.

Who said that the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude?

Bring him over here right about now. We could use some attitude.

Miekie said...

Hey Gringos , hope you are safe there!!

Miekie said...

i am Just glad you seem to have THE worst behind you, though all THE cleaning and fixing doesnt sound like fun....

d_pattee said...

Now that we know the worst has passed and you two are OK, how's Dooley?

I suspect that come Saturday, I'll be without power and Internet. Found out yesterday that the generator doesn't work. I've got my own DIY today!

Pics on ABC news this morning showed a house on T&C that looked a lot like yours.
DaveDownEast

Anonymous said...

StormPulse shows that it's already come and gone?

http://www.stormpulse.com/

Seems to be the beauty of these things, they move like the wind. Just 24 hours ago you're hunkering down.

Alas, the map shows two new one's in the making on the horizon. Perhaps this one was just a test run?

In a DIY vein, one has to wonder why there aren't any wind farms there. If one can capture even a 24 hour period of hurrican force winds and charge up a bank of batteries for whatever and whenever, seems simple enough, along with ample solar power through out the year?

Golfdock said...

I'm glad all three of you made it through the night. I hope things settle down for you and there is not too much damage. I'm sure Dooley is quite ready to stop shaking. Prayers and best wishes, JR

Anonymous said...

Best of luck today, I've been thinking about you guys. First thing I did this morning was check the web cam at the Grand Regant and it was still operating so I assumed the power was still on. I guess they have a generator also.

The storm looks like it is pulling away I hope all is well and Dooley is not to crazy.

DeLong said...

My sister and brother in-law are supposed to be traveling to Parrot Cay this weekend. Do you think that is out of the question with the damage that has been done?

Hans said...

I must have been blind and deaf for not having found this great blog earlier. All the best now for the remainder of the storm and I am looking forward to catch up with the old post and of course to many new ones. Greetings from the other side of the pond, Hans.

jeeperman said...

Yee Haw !
So does this storm trump your previous storms?
I was thinking maybe you had satelite internet since surely the local internet would be down physically or power wise.
Your genny is outside, right?
Dang drywall, I would be looking at interior concrete stucco or something as a substitute.
Good luck, be safe and may your only damages be easily repaired.

JayBabes Mom said...

Found you when searching for info on Provo. After storm as my son lives there. GREAT blog I will be following you from now on. I have no communication with my son at this time and feel much better now thanks .Do good, be well and happy.

Courtnrey said...

I'm so glad yall are doing this!!! Very Cool!!

Anonymous said...

Praying for the best for you all!

Zenfold from THT

Victor said...

Glad you are all ok. You were all in our thoughts during this storm.

Just bought a Go Pro, and I guess I should buy the small inserts they sell that go between the housing and the camera to avoid the fog.

Always looking forward to your post's....

Victor

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your Great Blog site (only one from TCI that I could find) and all who have made comments. I live in Portugal with family living in Provo (north side); have been following Storm Pulse website but it has been very comforting to have inside information from your site. Keep safe and hope you have not incurred too much damage.
Look forward to catching up on Part 2.

sumocean said...

Love the blog hope all things are good. Going to the coast tomorrow to tie things down in NC. We survived the earthquake, I think Cape Hatteras was just trying to move a little further west. Great music with the movies as well. Be good.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gringo....Jayhawk in Houston. Saw the stork track and hope you weathered the storm with relatively minor damage.

Steve

Anonymous said...

Hey Gringo....Jayhawk in Houston. Saw the storm track and hoped that you had relatively minor damage.


Steve